Crafting a comprehensive estate plan can be challenging for several reasons. Not only does the process take time and mental effort, but it can extract an emotional toll as people begin to make decisions based on their own mortality. Unfortunately, with everything that people must remember, there are certain factors that are often overlooked, including:
- Loans to family members: It is a common occurrence for family members to bail each other out of challenging financial situations. A few dollars here or there probably wouldn’t cause too much of a stir but a loan of several thousand dollars should be addressed in estate planning documents. Will the loan be forgiven? Will the repayment be removed from what would have been the individual’s inheritance and redistributed?
- Shipping costs for inherited physical assets: This is another example of next-level planning that could go overlooked. One of the benefits of writing an estate plan is to ensure you can bequeath items or collections to those you know would appreciate them. Items such as furniture, artwork or book collections might need to be shipped thousands of miles away. A will should be specific about covering travel expenses and shipping costs – whether the estate will pay them or not.
- Proper executor communication: Relationships change over time and the individual you chose to be your executor might have fallen out of favor with you or worse passed away himself or herself. It is wise to update this information in your estate plan on a regular basis and ensure your communication with your chosen individual is current about your wishes and their responsibility.
- Digital assets: In the past decade, individuals of all ages have adopted the digital lifestyle. From managing multiple social media accounts to financial considerations such as eBay, PayPal or cryptocurrencies, these assets must be discussed in an estate plan.
No matter your age, health or wealth it is wise to develop a comprehensive estate plan. Additionally, whenever you experience a significant life event (marriage, divorce, birth of a child) it is wise to revise the plan accordingly. Do not hesitate to make revisions every three to five years to ensure your plan is up to date with your current wishes.